Thursday, February 14, 2008

Citizen journalist helps Chronicle readers

Regulars here know I’m a strong supporter of the cyber journalism which allows readers to comment “on the same page” as the news story.

Those we call “citizen journalists” often add to the story, alert reporters and editors to unintended errors and expose deliberately false and biased “media coverage.” We all saw that recently in the cases of the Duke lacrosse frame-up attempt and the "Jena 6" story.

Today, there’s an excellent example of citizen journalism at The Chronicle’s Web site.

The headlines for TC's lead story are:

Brodhead pays visit to Capitol Hill

Prez calls for increase in research funding
TC's story begins:
President Richard Brodhead visited Capitol Hill Tuesday to lobby Congress to increase funding for research in the physical sciences.

An omnibus spending bill, which Congress passed in December, lacked the expected increase in funding requested by President George W. Bush.

But an emergency supplement bill that would increase research spending by $500 million is expected to come before Congress this spring.

The bill would send an additional $300 million to the Department of Energy and $200 million to the National Science Foundation. Both organizations currently fund ongoing research endeavors at Duke. ...
If you read to the end of the story, you’ll see where a TC reader comments, and demonstrates how citizen journalists serve readers.

The reader begins:
How nice of Mr Brodhead to discover Washington!!! When dollars for faculty are involved, he's there.

Do you recall his being there for students when Congress was having crucial debates about student aid?

Let's make clear what Brodhead is groveling for. The federal government will spend more and more on research, in fact more than it has ever in the past, but not as much as dreamers once hoped for.

The "cut" is from the level of anticipated federal spending growth in the future, not from real spending now. (bold JinC's)

Let's also make clear that atop every federal grant, there is a percentage added for Duke's administration and overhead. Brodhead is groveling for this percentage to be increased.

The Chronicle should have fished out actual figures.

How has Duke's dollop of federal dollars been increasing, what do we get now, how much more will we get next year, "cut" or no cut? How many dollars are involved here?
There’s more from the citizen journalist.

I hope you read it all and the reader comments which follow.

The citizen journalism provided Chronicle readers on this story today left them more informed and better able to judge what Duke and our federal government are doing.

That can only be good for the University and our country.

I especially appreciated the citizen journalist noting that no research funding cuts are being planned. It’s only a question of the percentage of increase in funding that Brodhead was talking about.

The Chronicle could easily have told readers that.

Does anyone know why it didn’t?

I'll send a link to this post to Chronicle Editor David Graham, but I don't expect him to reply unless I agree that everything he tells me is off the record.


Anonymous said...

Brodhead goes to DC to grovel for $$$ ????

Why doesn't Duke pay taxes on all that land they're using in NC, and turn loose some of that endowment money to help the citizens of Durham, whose land they have confiscated, instead of going to DC to try to get more money when that school is already more heavily endowed than a lot of small nations in this world?

Anonymous said...

"...and turn loose some of that endowment money to help the citizens of Durham, whose land they have confiscated..."

That "confiscated" sounds rather extreme.